Look at all of this escessive spending

Dear Editor:

After a holiday respite, I returned to reading about our municipal government in the local newspapers and found that, well, not much had changed.

First, the local daily reported a week or so ago that despite the fact that Hoboken is one of the smallest cities in Hudson County, the two highest paid municipal employees in the County are our Fire Chief, John Cassesa, and our Police Chief, Carmen LaBruno. In fact, according to the report, Mr. LaBruno is the highest paid police chief in the nation. That's a stunner. It would mean he earns more than, say, New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, whose police force is at least a hundred of times larger and who is responsible for America's most important counter-terrorism efforts. I'm sure being police chief of any city is no easy job, but is Hoboken's police chief really worth more than Ray Kelly?

Second, I read that the School Board filled its soon-to-be-vacant business administrator slot with an assistant administrator earning more than $100,000 per year. One would assume that when a new permanent administrator is selected, he or she will earn at least as much as the assistant, saddling the taxpayer with more than $200,000 in executive salaries sitting atop the school system. In addition, I read that Patrick Gagliardi, the Superintendent, will probably be bought out of his contract, at the cost of several hundred thousand dollars. The School Board had just extended that contract this Spring, in the heat of the Mayoral and School Board campaigns, a decision that appears to have been politically motivated, was otherwise unnecessary at the time (since the contract was nowhere near expiring), and will now impose substantial severance costs on Hoboken's taxpayers. And then, as if that was not enough, I learned that David Anthony, a longtime Board member, is taking the Secretary's position, at a $37,000 salary, presumably to help the Board to keep track of all this spending, but that someone must have forgotten to check to see if the position was actually vacant. Apparently, it is not vacant, and so now we have two School Board Secretaries. With all of this money dancing around, is anyone paying attention to the interests of the students?

Lastly, not to be outdone, I read that our City's leader, David Roberts, at over $124,000, is the Hudson County salary king of mayors, earning $25,000 more than the mayor of Jersey City, one of the largest cities in our state. Mr. Roberts campaigned for re-election last Spring on a platform of fiscal responsibility. If, after five years as Mayor, his own salary level and those of other City officials are any indication, one has to wonder about that promise. Maybe he meant he'll be more responsible next year?

I think I'll go back to ignoring the newspapers for awhile. It's less painful that way, at least until the tax bill arrives.

Ricky Mason

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